Do Leaders Need To Look After Their Wellbeing?
A Centre for Mental Health study found that presenteeism from mental ill health alone costs the UK economy £15.1 billion per year, and absenteeism costs £8.4 billion.
To combat this, lots of workplaces have implemented wellbeing policies to help employees manage their own health positively. However, not every organisation has these policies in place. And even in organisations that promote wellbeing, not all leaders are paying enough attention to their own wellbeing.
Why is wellbeing particularly important for leaders?
As an executive coach, one thing I see all the time is busy executives trying to get ahead by working harder. Longer hours and working harder seem to be the best and only way to get ahead. Unfortunately, those things will only lead you to stress and burnout.
Hard work is one key to success, but only in balance with other priorities. If you don’t look after yourself, you’ll lack the energy, resilience, or mental capacity to make the work you do as impactful as possible. You’ll be working harder without seeing the results you need because you’re tired and drained.
When you prioritise wellbeing, you have the energy and mental clarity to get things done quicker and more effectively. The hard work you put in becomes more impactful, and no longer requires you to work long hours and sacrifice social time.
As a leader, you’re also a role model. Focusing on your own wellbeing will make you sharper and more successful. Even better, if you’re open about prioritising wellbeing, you’ll see a powerful effect on your people too. When your people prioritise wellbeing, you’ll see an increase in their performance and a reduction in sickness absence.
The best and most effective leaders recognise that focusing on their own wellbeing not only gives them renewed energy and makes them a better leader; it makes their teams happier, healthier, and more productive too.
So, if you were thinking I’ve got a million tasks and responsibilities on my plate, how can I afford to prioritise wellbeing? I’d challenge that by asking how can you afford not to?
How can leaders prioritise wellbeing?
Does prioritising your wellbeing and reaping the rewards sounds great–but you don’t know where to start and are sure you don’t have the time? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
Here are my top 5 tips for taking care of yourself so you can get the best results:
- Incorporate regular reflection into your leadership practice. It can be as little as a few minutes a day, but the benefits are incredible.
- Set some boundaries around working times – and enforce them. Turn off your phone or switch it to silent at a set time each evening.
- Do one thing every day that makes you happy. Whether it’s setting aside half an hour to read for pleasure, taking a long bath or having dinner with your family. Whatever makes you feel good, make time for it.
- Make time for exercise. If you hate the gym or don’t have time for classes, take a brisk walk at lunchtime for ten minutes. It will get your circulation going and clear your mind.
- Make quality sleep a priority. Stop using all devices at least an hour before bed and give yourself some winding down time. Reading, taking a bath or some gentle yoga are all good ways to relax before bed. With a good night’s sleep, you’ll be much sharper the next day in the office.
As a leadership coach, I regularly help my executive coaching clients to prioritise their wellbeing and get the results they need as a leader. With nearly 20 years’ experience supporting senior leaders, clinicians, and business owners to excel in their roles, I’ve helped dozens of clients achieve leadership success without burning out.
If you’d like to learn more about how coaching can help and want to take the next step, why not book a free discovery call today? It’s a no-obligation discussion to find out how I can help you worry less and achieve more.
Andrea helps you focus on leading yourself first, so you can be a great leader. Start getting your regular dose of leadership tips and inspiration with the ‘Leadership Breather’ – encouraging you to give yourself a breather and take 5 minutes for you.